It seems like it doesn’t really matter what happens on first or second down anymore.
The Eagles went 9-for-14 on third down Sunday afternoon, in a dominating 34-7 win over the Cardinals. And Carson Wentz went 9-for-10 for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
Several times during the game, Wentz connected with a receiver on a third and long to either extend a drive or to find the end zone. Coming into the game ranked sixth in third down conversions (likely catapulting to the top 3 after this game), Wentz threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in totality.
“Situational football is huge,” Wentz, one of the league’s best quarterbacks on third down said. “To be effective on third down, it helps the time of possesion, it keeps the defense off the field. We call it the money down.”
Talking about money — two wide outs earned big bucks with huge third down plays in the win. Wentz stepped into the pocket to launch a 59-yard touchdown bomb to a wide open streaking Torrey Smith — on third down in a 21-point first quarter. A second bomb, this one to Agholor for 72 yards, came on a third down play in the third quarter.
“Guys just made plays on the outside,” center Jason Kelce, whom Wentz credits for blocking two guys on the blitz pick up in the Agholor score, said. “When it’s man to man coverage you put a lot on the recievers and quarterback to make plays. That one long pass to Nelly, the way he finished it off there with extra style in the end zone, that was fun to watch.”
As a result of the consistency on third down, the Eagles once again flexed their league-best time of possession running the ball 33 times and passing it 30.
Philly was also good defensively on third downs, allowing just four of 14 attempts, giving the offense more chances to make plays.
“It’s very big especially with the explosive offense that we have now,” cornerback Jalen Mills said. “With the way those guys are playing whether it’s running the ball or passing, we try and get them the ball as much as possible so they can put points on the board.”